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  1. #11
    John Austin's Avatar
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    We were not there, we did not know him personally, so I would urge caution on conjecture on this thread as it could show more about the person posting the comment than upon the subject itself

  2. #12
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    If you ever get a chance to see any of his photographs, they are worth seeing. There was a Dodgson exhibition at Dimbola Lodge a couple of years ago which I went to see.

    Quote Originally Posted by jbaphoto View Post
    We were not there, we did not know him personally, so I would urge caution on conjecture on this thread as it could show more about the person posting the comment than upon the subject itself
    I agree. There was a time when people were given the benefit of the doubt. Now the standard practice is to assume the worst!


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  3. #13
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    While doing my MA in Photography we discussed these issues with Roger Taylor (then a visiting lecturer):

    Roger Taylor the Photo historian edited and wrote text for a definitive book on the work of Charles Dodgson around 2002/3, published by Princeton University Press. The research was extremely thorough based on the Dodgson archives held at Princeton and for the first time photographs/negatives were cross matched to the entries in Dodgsons diaries and other papers.

    The images of Alice Liddell were made over a short period of time and her mother was always present, every sitting was deatiled in the diaries. What hadn't been realised was at that point there was craze in Britain for cards of paintings of young girls similarly posed, and Dodgson is thought to have seen the commercial possibilities. We think of the Victorian era in Britain as being moral and puritanical but that wasn't always the case.

    So Dodgson may well have been stupid in his actions in hind-sight but there was no evidence of anything else, his meticulous cataloguing of his negatives and his diaries showed clearly these images were only made in a few sessions and not over an extensive period of time.

    Quote Originally Posted by jbaphoto View Post
    We were not there, we did not know him personally, so I would urge caution on conjecture on this thread as it could show more about the person posting the comment than upon the subject itself
    That's well put in light of what researchers found.

    Ian

  4. #14

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    One of the problems with Charles Dodgsen is that he was a very successful writer and quite famous even during his lifetime - yet he was very private and reserved. He gave few interviews, most of his letters and diaries were destroyed. Biographers and journalists have had little to go on. Consequently, they have had a pretty big vacuum to fill - and some of them seem to have had fun filling it.

    Karoline Leach wrote a book about Dodgsen where she argues his life story has been misrepresented and distorted over the years and she asserts that many of the things some people believe to be true about him are without foundation. This includes the allegations of paedophilia.

    As for the pictures - he apparently took over 3000 plates and about half of then survive. Out of these five of them were of nude girls (allegedly there was a sixth, which did not survive). As a percentage of his work it doesn't seem so unusual. Julia Margaret Cameron photographed a lot more children, including nudes, as did most contemporary photographers of this period. It appears to have just been an accepted style of 'art' photograph at the time.

    Frank Meadow Sutcliffe not only photographed little boys naked - but he was ex-communicated for it.
    Without knowing the full story the gut reaction from someone used to reading headlines in today's tabloids may be to assume he was a paedophile with a liking for little boys.

    The reality is the photographs were of boys in Whitby harbour swimming (The picture is called 'The Water Rats', 1886). The kids swam naked (no swimming costumes in those days and living in families that might be well over a dozen members, in perhaps two rooms, probably had a very difference sense of modesty and privacy anyway). The local clergy objected to the photograph because they believed it was inappropriate to allow ladies to see male nudity! The images fit in with Sutcliffes body of work of documenting life around Whitby in the late 19th century and no one has ever accused him of paedophilia, to my knowledge.

    Many other photographers have included child nudes in their work right up until fairly recently. Wynn Bullock took quite a few (usually his own daughters) as part of his landscapes ('Innocent child in wild landscape' type things).

    I doubt whether many would want to do it now, for fear of finger pointing

    I think we can make a big mistake by retrospectively applying current anti-paedophilia hysteria to the past.
    Steve

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven_e007 View Post

    Many other photographers have included child nudes in their work right up until fairly recently.
    HCB was one of them too.

  6. #16
    edp
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    This book is well worth the cover price.

    http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7241.html

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkosaric View Post
    HCB was one of them too.
    And no-one ever accused E. Weston of being a pedo
    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #18
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    I once worked as a therapist in a state mental hospital (think--"guilty by reason of insanity.") I've personally met and interacted with dozens of pedophiles. This guy's behavior is setting off my alarm bells.


    Kent in SD

  9. #19
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    The photographs of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson often depict pictures of little girls and in particular we know of his fondness for Alice Liddell. In conversations with fellow photographers/public, I sometimes hear the comments that he had leanings to pedophilia. As far as I know there is no evidence to support this and I would like to think he just had the slightly naive innocence of a somewhat deranged mathematics lecturer. Any thoughts?
    Trailing your coat a bit again? What about the $hit storm Sally Mann's family pix stirred up?

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    I once worked as a therapist in a state mental hospital (think--"guilty by reason of insanity.") I've personally met and interacted with dozens of pedophiles. This guy's behavior is setting off my alarm bells.


    Kent in SD

    A popular modern armchair sport is diagnosing historical figures with modern psychiatric disorders based on their writings, photographs, reclusiveness, etc, without any first hand experience of the person. Why not add posthumous criminal conviction to the sport?

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